What is the “great and abominable church” that Nephi saw?
The Lord prepared the way for the Restoration.
Latter-day scripture restores “plain and precious things.”
God sent Jesus Christ as an expression of His love.
Highlighted text – Verses that are similar or exactly the same in the Bible.
For the sake of time, I will not cite all the parallel phrases and words from the Old and New Testaments that are in the Book of Mormon text. For a complete transcript of this lesson please click on the link in the description below.
We start out reading in 1 Nephi 11:1 about Nephi being “caught away in the Spirit of the Lord” similar to Acts 8:39, “into an exceedingly high mountain” like it says in Matthew 4:8. This is symbolic so that Nephi could see things from a broader perspective. Nephi is about to have an interactive vision – involving dialogue between him and the “Spirit.”
1 Nephi 11:1 The phrase “pondering in mine heart” is similar, to Luke 2:19.
1 Nephi 11:2 The words “the Spirit said unto me: Behold” is similar, to Acts 10:19.
1 Nephi 11:4 The words “the tree of which” is the same in Genesis 3:17.
1 Nephi 11:6 The Spirit told him “And blessed art thou, Nephi, because thou believest in the Son of the most high God”. The phrase “the Lord, the most high God” is the same in Genesis 14:22. Because Nephi believes in his father’s dream – Nephi is promised to also see the, dream.
1 Nephi 11:7 It begins with Nephi seeing the Son of God “descending out of heaven” same as Revelation 21:10, and He will “bear record that it is the Son of God” same as in John 1:34.
1 Nephi 11:8 And then it came to pass that the Spirit showed Nephi the tree which his father had seen, and the fruit which was so exceeding white that “the whiteness thereof did exceed the whiteness of the driven snow.” It was the whitest thing he’d ever seen.
1 Nephi 11:11 Nephi told the Spirit he wanted to know the interpretation of his father’s dream. The words “know the interpretation” is the same in Daniel 7:16 and “the Lord : and he spake unto” is the same in 2 Chronicles 32:24 and “as a man speaketh” is the same in Exodus 33:11. Nephi described that the Spirit he was conversing with “was in the form of a man.” If this WAS the Holy Spirit – it was the ONLY occasion in scripture, wherein the Holy Ghost makes a personal appearance to man to speak with him.
1 Nephi 12:12 “and I saw him not” is the same in Genesis 44:28.
1 Nephi 11:13 Nephi saw in vision a virgin, and “she was exceedingly fair” same as Acts 7:20. And, I’ll be darned if she wasn’t also exceedingly “white.” Being white is an exceeding good thing in the Book of Mormon! However, Mary the mortal mother of Jesus most likely had a darker complexion than we imagine – not unlike the olive skin common among Middle Easterners today. But in Nephi’s vision she was exceedingly white. Whiteness is symbolic of purity. We still have, to realize that Mary was a fallen sinner and needed redemption as much as the rest of us.
In 1 Nephi 11:14 An unidentified angel is now Nephi’s new guide throughout the rest of the vision. The phrase “I saw the heavens open” is similar, to Acts 7:56 and “me; and he said unto me” is the same in Ezekiel 3:22.
1 Nephi 11:16 “And he said unto me: Knowest thou the condescension of God?” The phrase “And he said unto me: Knowest thou” is similar, to Zechariah 4:5.
Note: Before we get into these upcoming verses, I want to set the stage. When Joseph Smith wrote or translated the Book of Mormon, he was entirely monotheistic in his theological outlook. He remained this way until about 1836 when his “plurality of Gods” theology started to emerge. Thus, the handwritten transcripts and first edition of the Book of Mormon were entirely monotheistic – with no mention of God having a body. God was a spirit and Jesus was God – manifest in the flesh. Keep in mind that the 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon did not have verses – but was one continuous narrative. I am going to use equivalent page numbers from the 1830 edition for reference to compare with the current 2013 edition.
1 Nephi 11:18 The angel told Nephi that this fair virgin “is the mother of the Son of God.” In the 1830 edition, pg. 25 it reads, “And he said unto me, Behold, the virgin which thou seest, is the MOTHER OF GOD, after the manner of the flesh.” That was changed to now read the “mother of the Son of God.”
1 Nephi 11:19 Nephi saw that she “was carried away in the Spirit” is similar, to Revelation 21:10.
1 Nephi 11:20 Then he saw the virgin once again, this time “bearing a child in her arms.”
1 Nephi 11:21 “And the angel said unto me: Behold the Lamb of God, yea, the Son of the Eternal Father!” The words “the angel said unto me” is in Revelation 1 7:7 and “Behold the Lamb of God” is in John 1:29. There are 44 references to “the Lamb” in Nephi’s vision in Chapters 11-14 alone. As Christian readers – we consider this term to be a, linguistic anachronism. The “Lamb of God” is unique to the Gospel of John 1:29, 36, and is not found any other New or Old Testament book. However, it is used dozens of times in the Book of Mormon as early as 600 BC.
In the 1830 edition, pg. 25 “And the angel said unto me, behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the ETERNAL FATHER!” That was changed to read “the Son of the Eternal Father.”
Ezra Taft Benson in his book Come unto Christ p. 4 wrote this, “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints proclaims that Jesus Christ is the Son of God in the MOST LITERAL SENSE. The body in which He performed His mission in the flesh was SIRED by that same Holy Being we worship as God, our Eternal Father. Jesus was not the son of Joseph, or was He begotten by the Holy Ghost. He is the Son of the Eternal Father!” In other words, according to LDS Apostle Benson – Jesus was the offspring of parents – one of which was an immortal resurrected Being and the other a, mortal spirit-daughter of Father in Heaven. How does that rest with you? (episode 26)
This phrase in 1 Nephi 11:22 “the love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts” is similar, to Romans 5:5.
1 Nephi 11:24 Nephi describes the Son of God “and I saw many fall down at his feet and worship him” similar, to Revelation 19:10. Should we worship Jesus? Do the LDS worship Jesus? It is taught in today’s Mormonism that the sole object of worship is God the Father. Members are not to have any divided worship. They are to worship Father in Heaven, and Him only. However, the Book of Mormon – and the Bible, for that matter – teaches that we ought, to worship Christ – the Son of God see 2 Nephi 25:9 and 3 Nephi 11:24. And even though the Church today teaches that it is wrong to pray to Jesus Christ – the Book of Mormon commanded his disciples to pray to Jesus see 3 Nephi 3:15-18. The question is – If you worship Christ along with the Father, are you worshipping two Gods instead of one? The Book of Mormon says “No” and modern Mormonism says “Yes.”
1 Nephi 11:25 – Here begins the interpretation of the dream:
“the rod of iron, which my father had seen, was the word of God, which led to the fountain of living waters, or to the tree of life; which waters are a representation of the love of God; and I also beheld that the tree of life was a representation of the love of God.” You’ll find “the fountain of living waters” in Jeremiah 17:13 and “the tree of life” in Revelation 22:2, and “the love of God” in Luke 11:42.
Next, Nephi is shown the Savior’s mortal ministry.
1 Nephi 11:27 Nephi speaking of the prophet John the Baptist – who “should prepare the way before him” similar to Malachi 3:1. “And the Lamb of God went forth and was baptized.” The words “the Lamb of God” is also in John 1:29. “and the Holy Ghost come down out of heaven and abide upon him in the form of a dove” is similar, to Luke 3:22.
The word “baptize” is from the Greek term “baptizo.” It was first introduced in the Gospels with John the Baptist. The term “baptize” is absent in the Jewish Canon and the Septuagint but mentioned 58 times in the Old Testament era of the Book of Mormon.
1 Nephi 11:28 And Nephi saw that the “multitudes were gathered together” same as in Matthew 13:2.
1 Nephi 11:29 Then Nephi saw twelve others following him.
1 Nephi 11:30 Then Nephi “beheld the heavens open again, and I saw angels descending upon” similar, to John 1:51.
1 Nephi 11:31 Among the people there was “all manner of diseases,” similar, to Matthew 4:23, and “the unclean spirits were cast out” similar, to Luke 4:36.
1 Nephi 11:32 Nephi saw that the Son of God was taken and judged.
1 Nephi 11:33 The Lamb of God was “lifted up upon the cross and slain for the sins of the world”.
Back to Verse 32. Here we come across another change in the text, “And I looked and beheld the Lamb of God, that he was taken by the people; yea, THE SON OF the everlasting God, was judged of the world.” This was changed from the 1830 edition pg. 26 which read “And I looked and beheld the Lamb of God, that he was taken by the people; yea, THE EVERLASTING GOD, was judged of the world.” The Lamb of God was “the everlasting God” in 1830 but was changed to “the son of the everlasting God.”
These changes from the 1830 edition are significant doctrinal changes. We just don’t notice what is STILL in the Book of Mormon – even today. There isn’t a single reference to God and Jesus as two separate and distinct beings anywhere, as Joseph considered them at the time to be one and the same.
Next, Nephi will be shown what we know – as the rest of the New Testament – beginning in Acts.
1 Nephi 11:34 Multitudes were “gathered together to fight against” similar, to Revelation 19:19. They were fighting against the twelve apostles.
1 Nephi 11:35 The phrase “the multitude of the” is the same in Isaiah 29:5. These multitudes were gathered in a large and spacious building to fight against “the twelve apostles of the Lamb” same as in Revelation 21:14.
We know from the New Testament that the twelve apostles were appointed by Jesus Christ around 30 AD. The word “apostle” is from the Greek term “apostolos”. Nephi was using this Greek word a thousand years before the word was created.
1 Nephi 11:36 Nephi learns that “The great and spacious building was the pride of the world.” The phrase “And it fell and the fall thereof was exceedingly great” similar, to Matthew 7:27 and Ezekiel 9:9. And the angel told Nephi that such will be the destruction “of all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people” similar, to Revelation 7:9.
Nephi’s vision continues to the end of Chapter 14.
In Chapter 12, Nephi will basically see the whole Book of Mormon story unfold. Lehi’s vision was completely allegorical – while Nephi’s vision expanded further into a view of the world’s future.
1 Nephi 12:1-3 The angel shows Nephi the seed or descendants of his brothers and his – in the land of promise. And he saw great wars and destruction and many cities. We will read about these wars in Alma and Helaman. The phrases “the land of promise” is the same in Hebrews 11:9 and “wars, and rumors of wars“ is the same in Matthew 24:6.
1 Nephi 12:4 He saw a “mist of darkness on the face of the land of promise.” He saw, “lightnings, and I heard thunderings, and earthquakes” similar, to Revelation 8:5. “the rocks, that they rent” similar, to Matthew 27:51. Mountains collapsed, and cities sunk and burned – many people died. The phrase “they were burned with fire” is the same in 1 Chronicles 14:12. We will read all about this when we study 3 Nephi 8.
1 Nephi 12:5 “judgments of the Lord” is the same in Psalm 19:9.
1 Nephi 12:6 Then Nephi saw the Lamb of God “descending out of heaven” same as Revelation 21:10. And He appeared to the survivors of this catastrophe. We will read about this in 3 Nephi 11.
1 Nephi 12:7 Then “the Holy Ghost fell upon twelve others”
1 Nephi 12:8 The angel said these twelve disciples “who are chosen to minister unto thy seed.”
1 Nephi 12:9 “the twelve apostles of the Lamb” is the same in Revelation 21:14. They will “judge the twelve tribes of Israel” similar, to Matthew 19:28.
1 Nephi 12:10 “Because of their faith in the Lamb of God their garments are made white in the blood of the Lamb” similar, to Revelation 7:14. The color “white” symbolizes purity and righteousness. In 4 Nephi we will read about the 200 years of peace that will follow.
Then, Nephi saw after the fourth generation of righteousness passed away, that his seed and his brother’s seed were gathered, together to battle. We will read about this in Mormon.
1 Nephi 12:15 The phrase “were gathered together in battle” is the same in 1 Chronicles 11:13.
1 Nephi 12:16 The “fountain of filthy water” in Lehi’s dream was interpreted as the “depths of hell” same in Proverbs 9:18.
1 Nephi 12:17 “And the mists of darkness are the temptations of the devil.”
1 Nephi 12:18 The large and spacious building “is vain imaginations and the pride of the children of men.” There was also, “a great and a terrible gulf divideth them” similar, to Luke 16:26. “from the beginning of the world” same as Ephesians 3:9.
The original 1830 edition of 1 Nephi 12:18 reads, “…yea, even the word of the justice of the Eternal God, and Jesus Christ, which is the Lamb of God…” The problem is – that the name “Jesus Christ” was not revealed to the Nephites until 50 years later in 2 Nephi 10:3 which reads “Wherefore, as I said unto you, it must needs be expedient that Christ – for in the last night the angel spake unto me that this should be his name – should come among the Jews” In order to correct this contradiction, 1 Nephi 12:18 was changed in a later edition of the Book of Mormon to read “Messiah” instead of “Jesus Christ”. I know this is a bit confusing – but it is very important to point out.
Then, Nephi saw the seed of his brethren overcome his own seed in war. And, we will read about the Lamanites destroying the Nephites in Mormon 6 and 8.
1 Nephi 12:21 Nephi saw wars and “rumors of wars” the same as Matthew 24:6 and Mark 13:7.
1 Nephi 12:22-23 Nephi saw that the seed of his brethren “after they had dwindled in unbelief they became a dark, and loathsome, and a filthy people, full of idleness and all manner of abominations.” Which we will see later, is the origin of the Native Americans.
Note: Joseph Fielding Smith, an LDS prophet and former Church Historian said in The Improvement Era, December 1961 “…enemies of the Church…have made the statement that there have been one or two or more thousand changes in the Book of Mormon since the first edition was published. Well, of course, there is no truth in that statement.”
David Whitmer, one of the Three Witnesses in An Address to All Believers in Christ, 1887, p.12 – describes the meticulous method by which the gold plates were translated: “I will now give you a description of the manner in which the Book of Mormon was translated. Joseph Smith would put the seer stone into a hat, and put his face in the hat, drawing it closely around his face to exclude the light; and in the darkness the spiritual light would shine. A piece of something resembling parchment would appear, and on that appeared the writing. One character at a time would appear, and under it was the interpretation in English.”
According to David Whitmer, the translation should have been near perfect – which would be backed by Joseph Fielding Smith. But, after all the revisions since 1830 – including significant doctrinal changes – I think Joseph Fielding Smith knew better and was trying to protect the Book of Mormon – which is considered THE KEYSTONE to the Mormon faith.
There were three major revisions we just reviewed here in Chapter 11, and one other major, revision we will consider in Chapter 13. Since passages in the rest of the Book of Mormon – which described Jesus as Father and Supreme God were NOT changed – it is possible that Joseph Smith intended to revise the whole Book of Mormon to reflect tritheism, but only barely began the project. He may have given up, realizing that revising the entire Book of Mormon’s theology would require a major rewriting. We will never know for sure.
Prophets, apostles, and Jesus himself, all promised that
God’s word would be preserved. The Book
of Mormon claims that precious and plain truths have been removed from the
Bible, and covenants lost. Who or what
are we to believe?
Nephi’s vision continues with Chapter 13. Which, by the way, has eleven “And it came to passes.”
1 Nephi 13:1-4 The angel now shows Nephi many nations and kingdoms of the Gentiles.
1 Nephi 13:5 The phrase “And the angel said unto me” is the same in Revelation 17:7. “Behold the formation of a church which is most abominable above all other churches, which slayeth the saints of God.”
1 Nephi 13:6 Nephi is told that the devil was the founder of this great and abominable church. Members of the Church don’t like to talk about this one because it sounds like anti-Catholic bigotry. However, the usage of the word “church” in this context refers to the “kingdom” of the devil. The phrase “kingdom of the Devil” will be used in 1 Nephi 22:22.
1 Nephi 13:7 The words “and all manner of precious” is the same in 1 Chronicles 29:2.
We will be told in 1 Nephi 14:10 that there are basically just two churches – one is the “church of the Lamb” and the other is the “church of the devil.”
1 Nephi 13:8 The phrase “and the scarlets, and the fine-twined linen” is the same in Exodus 38:18.
1 Nephi 13:10 Nephi then saw “many waters” meaning oceans, dividing the European Gentiles from the Lamanites in the Americas. The words “and they divided the” is the same in Joshua 14:5.
1 Nephi 13:11 “And it came to pass that the angel said unto me: Behold the wrath of God is upon the seed of thy brethren.”
1 Nephi 13:12 The phrase “And I looked and beheld a man” is similar, to 2 Samuel 18:24. Nephi sees Christopher Columbus in Europe being inspired to sail across the waters to the promised land. This prophecy of Columbus appears just five chapters before Lehi’s people sail to the New World. There is a parallel between Nephi and Columbus in that both were in, charge of bringing their people to the New Word or a promised land – and that both were directed by God to make the voyage.
1 Nephi 13:13 Then Nephi sees the pilgrims fleeing oppression and coming to America.
1 Nephi 13:14 He saw the early colonists in the land of promise. He also saw the devastation among the Lamanites as foreign explorers and colonists come to the Americas and begin to spread out among the Indians.
1 Nephi 13:15 He saw these Gentiles or colonists, “that they were white, and exceedingly fair and beautiful, like unto my people” the Nephites. SO IMPORTANT to be “white” and “fair” and “beautiful.” The words “fair and beautiful” is the same in Esther 2:7.
1 Nephi 13:16 The phrase “and the power of the Lord was with them” similar, to Acts 11:21.
1 Nephi 13:18 The phrase “that were gathered together” is the same as 2 Chronicles 12:5.
Next, Nephi sees the Revolutionary War in his vision. The “mother Gentiles” – Great Britain – who fought against the colonists in North America. But God helped the colonists to prevail and prosper.
1 Nephi 13:19 The words “out of the hands of all” is the same in Judges 8:34.
1 Nephi 13:20 Nephi says, “I beheld a book, and it was carried forth among them.” The Christian immigrants brought the Bible with them to America.
1 Nephi 13:21 The phrase “And the angel said unto me: knowest thou the meaning” is similar, to Zechariah 4:5.
1 Nephi 13:23 The angel told Nephi “Behold it proceedeth out of the mouth of a Jew.” “which contains the covenants of the Lord, which he hath made unto the house of Israel.” “wherefore, they are of great worth unto the Gentiles.” The phrase “the holy prophets; and” is the same in 2 Peter 3:2.
Next, Nephi will be shown that much was taken out of the Bible before WE got it.
1 Nephi 13:24 Nephi was told the Bible “contained the fulness of the gospel of the Lord.” – meaning, the original doctrines and teachings of the Bible.
Verse 25 These were to “go forth from the Jews in purity unto the Gentiles.”
1 Nephi 13:26 Afterwards, there was “the formation of that great and abominable church; which is most abominable above all other churches;” Why? Because “they have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants.” What kind of covenants? Temple covenants?
1 Nephi 13:27 And this was all done intentionally “that they might pervert the right ways of the Lord, and that they might blind the eyes and harden the hearts of the children of men.” The phrases “pervert the right ways of the Lord” is the same as Acts 13:10 and, “blind the eyes and harden the hearts” is similar, to John 12:40.
In 1 Nephi 13:28 it says, “there are many plain and precious things taken away from the book, which is the book of the Lamb of God.” By questioning the accuracy and transmission of the biblical text – Mormonism rejects the promise of Christ who said in Matthew 24:35 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” Are we to believe what the Book of Mormon says, or are we to believe Jesus’ promise to preserve His words? Jesus wasn’t the only one in the Bible to promise that God’s word would not be lost, the Prophet Isaiah made the following promise in the Old Testament – Isaiah 40:8 “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth; but the word of God shall stand for ever.” And, Peter reiterated this promise in the New Testament – 1 Peter 1:25 “But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.”
1 Nephi 13:29 Nephi is told “because of these things which are taken away out of the gospel of the Lamb, an exceedingly great many do stumble, yea, insomuch that Satan hath great power over them.” In other words, gospel truths and covenants are lost. The LDS would say – this is one of the reasons the Book of Mormon and modern scriptures are so important – they restore those “plain and precious things.”
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland wrote in his book, Christ and the New Covenant p. 6 “Surely the most plain and precious of all truths lost from the Bible, particularly the Old Testament, are the clear and unequivocal declarations of the mission of Jesus Christ, His foreordained role as Messiah and Savior of the world, and the covenantal elements of His gospel, which have been taught from Adam down through each succeeding dispensation.”
That statement from Elder Holland conflicts with what we have learned from the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls – which are a priceless link to the Old Testament. The Dead Sea Scrolls have shown that the books of the Jewish Bible were known and treated as sacred writings before the time of Jesus, with essentially the same content. The Dead Sea Scrolls verify the trust we can put into the reliability of the Old Testament as we have it today. The Scrolls prove how remarkably accurate the scribes had been through the ages. So, I’m not sure what Elder Holland is talking about when he claims – as the Book of Mormon does – that plain and precious truths were removed from the Old Testament. The Dead Sea Scrolls prove otherwise.
Notice: This chapter tells us that the “plain and precious things” were taken out of the Bible BEFORE the Bible went “forth unto all nations of the Gentiles.” So, the Book of Mormon isn’t putting the blame on the Catholic church.
1 Nephi 13:30-31 Nephi is promised that his surviving descendants – the Nephites – who will have intermixed with the Lamanites – will not be completely, destroyed by the influx of European immigrants. Neither will God permit the Gentiles to completely, annihilate the Lamanites.
1 Nephi 13:32 States “Neither will the Lord God suffer that the Gentiles shall forever remain in that ‘awful state of blindness’” That was changed in 1964 from the 1830 edition p. 31 which said, “state of awful woundedness.”
1 Nephi 13:33 The words “I will be merciful unto” is similar, to Hebrews 8:12.
Now, the stage is set for Nephi to be shown the restoration of the gospel through Joseph Smith.
1 Nephi 13:34 After the Lamb of God visits the remnant of the house of Israel, the American Indians in judgment – and after the Gentiles have suffered long enough without the most plain and precious parts of the gospel – which have been removed by the abominable church – “which is the mother of harlots” – the Lamb of God will give the Gentiles much of His gospel – which is plain and precious. In other words, God will restore His true Church to the earth. The words “the mother of harlots” is the same in Revelation 17:5.
1 Nephi 13:35 The Lamb says, “I will manifest myself unto thy seed” similar, to John 14:21. This would be referring to His visit as the Resurrected Lord in 3rd Nephi. They will write many plain and precious things that will be hid up – which Moroni did, when he buried the gold plates in Hill Cumorah. Only to come forth unto the Gentiles through Joseph Smith.
1 Nephi 13:36 The phrase “my rock and my salvation” is the same as Psalms 62:2.
1 Nephi 13:37 “And blessed are they who shall seek to bring forth my Zion at that day, for they shall have the gift and power of the Holy Ghost; and if they endure unto the end they shall be lifted up at the last day, and shall be saved in the everlasting kingdom of the Lamb; and whoso shall publish peace, yea, tidings of great joy, how beautiful upon the mountains shall they be.” And they will have “the gift and power of the Holy Ghost.” And if, they ”endure unto the end, they shall be” similar, to Matthew 24:13 – shall be lifted “up at the last day” similar, to John 6:40. And saved in “the everlasting kingdom of the Lamb” same as 2 Peter 1:11. The phrases “shall publish peace, yea, tidings of great joy” and “how beautiful upon the mountains shall” are similar, to Isaiah 52:7.
The two titles “Holy Ghost” and “Holy Spirit” are a product of the King James translation of the New Testament. We would not expect to see an 1830 translation of an ancient text produce the same two titles unique to the King James New Testament – but in the Book of Mormon we do. The “Holy Spirit” is used 15 times and the “Holy Ghost” 84 times. Oddly, the Book of Mormon uses BOTH titles in the same sentence – in Jacob 6:8.
Next, Nephi will be shown how the restoration of the gospel will take place in the last days.
1 Nephi 13:38 He sees that the Bible came forth from the Gentiles and was introduced to the Lamanites – the Native Americans. Verse 39 And then “other books” – referring to the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price – came forth from the Gentiles – meaning Joseph Smith and the missionaries of the LDS Church – to the Lamanites. All, of these books were to convince both Gentiles and American Indians that the Bible was true and contains the word of God. The phrase “which had proceeded forth from the mouth” is similar, to Judges 11:36.
1 Nephi 13:39 The phrase “were scattered upon all the face of the earth” is the same in Ezekiel 34:6.
1 Nephi 13:40 The angel told Nephi that the Book of Mormon plus the “other books” mentioned “shall establish the truth of the first.” They will sustain and support the Bible as having truths from God in it “and shall make know the plain and precious things which have been taken away from them.” In other words, they will restore the teachings, doctrines, and covenants which were taken out of the Bible. The phrases “been taken away from them; and shall” is similar, to Mark 2:20, and “cannot be saved” same as Acts 15:1. The 1830 p. 32 edition reads “that the Lamb of God is the Eternal Father and the Savior” which was changed to add “that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior”
1 Nephi 13:41 Both the Book of Mormon and the Bible come together – united as a witness for Christ. Then it says, “for there is one God” same as Mark 12:32. “and one shepherd” same as John 10:16. And it mentions “the records of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” Unfortunately for Joseph Smith, there are no “records” made by ALL of the “twelve apostles of the Lamb.”
1 Nephi 13:42 Nephi is then taught that Christ will come to earth to establish His gospel among the Jews and then among the Gentiles. This happened in New Testament times. Nephi is shown that in the last days, it will be in reverse order. That Jesus will manifest Himself first to the Gentiles – through Joseph Smith and the restoration – and lastly to the Jews. He says, “the last shall be first, and the first shall be last” similar, to Matthew 20:16.
We just covered references from 1 Nephi 13 that supposedly speak of the Bible. So, what can we make of what is claimed in the Book of Mormon to be said about the Bible in this chapter? Is it possible that Joseph Smith was well-aware of the earlier discovery of the Americas and simply wrote about it in his book and backdated it to around 600 BC? It should be noted that if Smith believed many “plain and precious parts of the Bible” had been lost, he didn’t exactly restore any of them – when he wrote his “Inspired Version” of the Bible between 1831 and 1834. Looking at 1 Nephi 13:20-25, we see a major problem for Smith in that there was no such thing as a book containing all the scriptures at the time of Christ. What WAS the Old Testament – simply consisted at the time – of many individual papyrus scrolls. It was centuries later when these scrolls became one compilation and became the “Bible” as we now know it. The English term “Bible” was taken from the Greek “biblos” which means “book.” It is fascinating that Smith claimed the Bible was “tampered” with – when in, reality it is not the Bible but the Book of Mormon which has had thousands of alterations to text, grammar, and punctuation since the first edition. The Book of Mormon makes no attempt to “restore” these alleged lost truths. There is not a single doctrine revealed in the Book of Mormon that is not already mentioned in the Bible. In fact, many of the unique doctrines of the Mormon gospel required for exaltation are not included in the Book of Mormon at all.
Here’s an interesting question: Is your Church founded by God or, is it founded by the Devil? According to the Book of Mormon, there are only two churches – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and all other Churches.
1 Nephi 14 is the last chapter of Nephi’s vision, wherein he was shown the things which his father, Lehi, saw. In it, he will be shown things concerning the latter-days in which we now live.
1 Nephi 14:1-2 The Gentiles – specifically Latter-day Saints – are told if they live the gospel faithfully, they will be considered worthy and righteous descendants of Lehi and “be blessed upon the promised land.”
1 Nephi 14:3-4 Now, the angel tells Nephi that a “great pit” has “been digged” by that “great and abominable church, which was founded by the devil and his children, that he might lead away the souls of men down to hell.” But, as if to make clarification – the verse ends with “not the destruction of the soul, save it be the casting of into that hell which hath no end.” So, nobody can or ever will cease to exist. BUT it does mean total captivity of the soul by the devil forever. The phrase “the Lamb of God” is taken from John 1:29.
1 Nephi 14:3 In Mormonism it is taught that we are literally the spirit children of God. But there is no reference in the Book of Mormon to confirm that idea or, that we all lived with God in a pre-mortal life. Apparently, the Nephites had absolutely no idea about that, and it did not form part of their own “fulness of the gospel”. However, the Book of Mormon in this verse does clearly teach the concept that the devil has children. I doubt the LDS Church wishes to take too literally the idea that Satan actually, has children. I’m sure they prefer the concept that – it is purely a figurative expression, and children here means “followers”. Nevertheless, it does say “children” in the Book of Mormon.
1 Nephi 14:5 The phrase “it shall be well with them” is found in Ecclesiastes 8:12.
1 Nephi 14:6 The words “harden their hearts” is in Joshua 11:20.
I Nephi 14:7 Next, the angel tells Nephi that the Lamb of God will “work a great and marvelous work among the children of men” which is similar to Isaiah 29:14. Of course, this will happen 2423 years later when Joseph Smith finds the golden plates and translates them by looking into his hat at the seer stone. The result being the production of the “great and marvelous work” that we now have as the Book of Mormon. This book, according to the angel – is either the best and most important book that we will ever read – bringing us “peace and life eternal.” Or, it will bring us “down into captivity, and also into destruction, both temporally and spiritually, according to the captivity of the devil” if we don’t read and believe it.
1 Nephi 14:8 The phrase “had spoken these words, he” is the same as John 18:1.
1 Nephi 14:9 Then the angel shows Nephi “that great and abominable church, which is the mother of abominations, whose founder is the devil” which is similar, to Revelation 17:5.
1 Nephi 14:10 This verse is full of strong and direct language. “And he said unto me: Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abomination; and she is the whore of all the earth.” Wow! The ultimatum is that either you belong to God’s church, or with the devil in his church – there is no middle ground. There is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the one true Church and then – there are the Christian and non-Christian churches.
1 Nephi 14:11 Here we have more in describing Satan’s kingdom and power in the last days. “And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the whore of all the earth, and she sat upon many waters; and she had dominion over all the earth, among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people.” Revelation 17:1 has similar language.
1 Nephi 14:12 Next, Nephi sees that in the last days, after the restoration of the gospel through Joseph Smith – the members of the LDS Church, though relatively small in, number have influence throughout the world. Language in this verse similar, to Revelation 17:1 and Revelation 19:2.
1 Nephi 14:13 says the “great mother of abominations” similar, to Revelation 17:5, fought against the Lamb of God. The phrase “among all the nations of the” is found in Jeremiah 44:8.
1 Nephi 14:14 But Nephi “beheld the power of the Lamb of God, that it descended upon the saints of the church of the Lamb, and upon the covenant people of the Lord.”
1 Nephi 14:15 Next, Nephi sees that “the wrath of God was poured out” similar, to Revelation 16:1, “upon that great and abominable church.”
1 Nephi 14:16 Nephi saw that there began to be wars among the nations that belonged to “the mother of abominations” similar, to Revelation 17:5, and the wrath of God was upon the “mother of harlots” similar, to Revelation 17:5, and “wars and rumors of wars” similar, to Matthew 24:6.
1 Nephi 14:17 At this point in history, “the work of the Father shall commence, in preparing the way for the fulfilling of his covenants.” In other words, it will be time for the gospel to be restored and the gathering of Israel will begin. Nephi is seeing in a vision this happening in our day.
1 Nephi 14:18-19 Now, Nephi is going to see a man, who was “dressed in a white robe.” I presume this “white robe” symbolized righteousness and worthiness. The phrase “And I looked and beheld a man” is similar, to Zechariah 2:1.
1 Nephi 14:20 The angel tells Nephi this man is “one of the twelve apostles of the Lamb” who will write the Book of Revelation about 700 years in the future. The phrase “the twelve apostles of the Lamb” is also found in Revelation 21:14.
1 Nephi 14:23 The phrase “and behold they are written in the book which” is similar, to 2 Chronicles 34:24 and 2 Chronicles 35:25.
1 Nephi 14:24 The things this apostle shall “write are many things which thou hast seen” similar, to Revelation 1:19.
And the angel showed Nephi lots of other cool stuff that Nephi can’t tell us about right now.
1 Nephi 14:26 This is an interesting verse in that it informs us that there are – yet other sealed records, which someday will be made available to the people of God. This could have reference to the sealed portion of the gold plates (see 2 Nephi 27:7; 3 Nephi 26:9-11; Ether 4:7).
1 Nephi 14:27 It will be no surprise that the name of the apostle we’ve been talking about was “John.” The phrase “and bear record, that the name of the” is similar, to John 1:34.
At this point, Nephi brings his recording of his vision to a close – reminding us that he is simply following the instructions of the angel not to write the rest of what he saw in the vision.
1 Nephi 14:30 Nephi states that he saw all these things in a vision while he was “carried away in the spirit” similar, to Revelation 17:3 and Revelation 21:10.
Chapter 15 begins with Nephi returning to Lehi’s tent and finding his brothers arguing over the things their father had told them.
1 Nephi 15:3 That’s because Lehi had told them many “things unto them, which were hard to be understood” similar, to 2 Peter 3:16.
Nephi was bummed because he knew what was in store for his unbelieving brothers.
1 Nephi 15:7 The problem was that they couldn’t “understand the words which our father hath spoken concerning the natural branches of the olive-tree, and also the Gentiles” similar, to Romans 11:24. We will see that the Olive tree represents the House of Israel.
1 Nephi 15:8-9 Nephi asks the obvious question “Have ye inquired of the Lord?” To which they replied, “Nope!” Nephi gives a clue here as to how they can arrive at a knowledge of spiritual things. You see – Lehi had told Nephi, Laman, and Lemuel of his dream. All three were interested in the interpretation of the symbols in their father’s dream. But Laman and Lemuel attempted to find their answers through the power of their own reasoning. While Nephi inquired of the Lord and – as a result received a vision.
1 Nephi 15:10 Then Nephi pops the worthiness question on them, “I said unto them; How is it that ye do not keep the commandments of the Lord?” similar, to Mark 8:21. Could it be that it is “because of the hardness of your hearts?” also found in Matthew 19:8.
1 Nephi 15:11 Nephi reminds them “Do ye not remember” same as Mark 8:18, what the Lord said about asking in faith, and believing, and keeping the commandments? If you did, these “things shall be made known unto you.” “, believing that ye shall receive” is similar, to Matthew 21:22.
1 Nephi 15:12 The phrase “broken off from the house of Israel” is similar, to Joel 1:9.
Next, Nephi will explain to his brothers the use of the olive-tree symbolism which was shown to their father Lehi. It deals with the gathering of Israel in the last days.
1 Nephi 15:13 After the Messiah comes, “In the latter-days, when our seed shall have dwindled in unbelief” then will “the fulness of the gospel of the Messiah come unto the Gentiles, and from the Gentiles unto the remnant of our seed.” The words “fulness of the gospel” is also found in Romans 11:25. This speaks of the restoration through Joseph Smith 2423 years in the future. The Lamanites are going to receive it from the members of the LDS Church.
Next, Nephi will prophesy that this blessing of knowing who they are – will be restored to the Lamanites in the last days.
1 Nephi 15:12 The Olive Tree was an emblem of peace and purity – frequently used by ancient prophets and the Apostle Paul in Romans 11:17-34.
1 Nephi 15:14 “And at that day shall the remnant of our seed know that they are of the house of Israel, and that they are the covenant people of the Lord; and then shall they know and come to the knowledge of their forefathers, and also to the knowledge of the gospel of their Redeemer, which was ministered unto their fathers by him; wherefore, they shall come to the knowledge of their Redeemer and the very points of his doctrine, that they may know how to come unto him and be saved.” The phrase “And at that day shall the” is the same in Jeremiah 49:22. The phrase “come to the knowledge of” is the same in 2 Timothy 3:7. Nephi is speaking of Native Americans – whose ancestors centuries earlier became a dark, loathsome, filthy, idle, and abominable people for dwindling in unbelief – having the possibility to be saved.
1 Nephi 15:15 In that day they will receive nourishment from “the true vine” same as John 15:1. There is a metaphorical reference to Christ as “the true vine” and the LDS Church as “the true fold of God.”
1 Nephi 15:16 Nephi promises that they will be grafted or reattached to “the true Olive tree” – with symbolic reference to the restored church in the last days. The words “shall be grafted in” is also in Romans 11:23.
1 Nephi 15:18 The phrases “of all the house of Israel” is the same in Exodus 40:38 and “In thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed” is the same as in Acts 3:25.
1 Nephi 15:19 Then, Nephi predicts a “restoration of the Jews in the latter days.” The Jews will be gathered back to the Holy Land and become a nation.
1 Nephi 15:20 After hearing all of this, Nephi’s bothers “did humble themselves before the Lord.” So, maybe there’s hope for Laman and Lemuel after all.
At this point they begin to ask sincere questions about the meaning of their father’s dream. And we get into a question and answer session.
1 Nephi 15:21 The brothers ask, “What meaneth the tree which he saw?
1 Nephi 15:22 Nephi replies, “It was a representation of the tree of life.” The words “of the tree of life” is also found in Genesis 3:22. This has reference to the same tree that was in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:9; Revelation 2:7). The tree represents Christ, and the fruit represents salvation in the Kingdom of God (Revelation 22:14).
1 Nephi 15:23 The Brothers ask, “What meaneth the rod of iron?”
1 Nephi 15:24 “And I said unto them that it was the word of God; and whoso would hearken unto the word of God, and would hold fast unto it, they would never perish; neither could the temptations and the fiery darts of the adversary overpower them unto blindness, to lead them away to destruction” Comparable phrases in this verse: “they would never perish, neither” similar, to John 10:28. “the fiery darts of the adversary” similar, to Ephesians 6:16. And, “leadeth them away to destruction” similar, to Matthew 7:13.
1 Nephi 15:25 Nephi strongly urged his brothers to “give heed to the word of God and remember to keep his commandments always in all things.” That is very high expectations for his brothers. I wonder if Nephi ALWAYS kept the commandments in ALL, things?
1 Nephi 15:26 The brothers ask, “What meaneth the river of water?”
1 Nephi 15:27-28 Nephi tells them, it was “filthiness”. And “it was a representation of that awful hell, which the angel said unto me was prepared for the wicked.” The words “swallowed up in” is also in 1 Corinthians 15:54. The wicked souls in hell are separated from those in paradise by their works of filthiness and the justice of God.
1 Nephi 15:30 The phrases “a flaming fire, which” is the same in Lamentations 2:3 and “ascendeth up unto God forever and ever, and” is similar, to Nehemiah 9:5 and Revelation 14:11.
1 Nephi 15:31 The boys wanted to know if judgment or “torment” was temporal or spiritual?
1 Nephi 15:32 Nephi tells them that it is “both temporal and spiritual; for the day should come that they must be judged of their works, yea, even the works which were done by the temporal body in their days of probation.” The phrases “they must be judged of their works” is similar, to Revelation 20:13 and “works which were done” is same in Matthew 11:21.
1 Nephi 15:33 Nephi warns them that If they die in their wickedness they will be brought to stand before God at judgment day. If their works have been filthiness, “they cannot dwell in the kingdom of God” similar, to Matthew 18:3.
Nephi goes on explaining the reasoning behind the fact that unworthy people cannot return to live forever with God.
1 Nephi 15:34 The phrase “cannot…enter into the kingdom of God” is similar, to John 3:5.
1 Nephi 15:36 Nephi wraps up the Q and A with his brothers by making the point: “that tree of life, whose fruit is most precious and most desirable above all other fruits; yea, and it is the greatest of all the gifts of God.” Which is eternal life to a Christian – and exaltation to a Latter-day Saint.
And this concludes our study of 1 Nephi chapters 11-15. Please subscribe so you won’t miss any of our future episodes. You can catch us on YouTube, Apple podcast, Spotify podcast, and Google podcast. Or, you can go to our website at Talking to Mormons.com where you can download this script and learn much more.
Until next time, God Bless!